Cranberries stand up in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Cranberies (Flickr)

Cranberry could be the key to fighting bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Montreal researchers found that using only an extract of the red fruit can prevent some bacterias from developing a resistance at all.

The study by McGill's Nathaly Tufenkji and Éric Déziel of the National Institute of Scientific Research found that combining cranberry molecules with only a small dose of antibiotic slows down the bacteria's defense mechanism.

Antibiotics need to get through the bacteria's skin to work. They also need to stay inside, but the bacteria pumps them out. That's where the cranberry comes in.

"Cranberry extract actually makes the skin more porus. What we discovered is that this cranberry extract can actually block those pumps, so that's another reason why we don't have to use as much antibiotic, because it's getting in more easily and it's getting trapped inside, " Nathalie Tufenkji explained. " It's exciting in a sense that we've seen that we can actually make bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics, using a lot less, potentially up to 90 % less antibiotic, and still kill the bacteria, " she added.

Experiments done on fruit flies and other insects were promising.

Tufenkji and Déziel now want to test it on mice for eventual use in human medecine.

The finding is seen as possible solution to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance around the world.

"A recent report in the UK predicts that 2050, more people will die because of antibiotic resistane than from cancer just because of our inability to fight bacterial infections, " said Tufenkji.